mardi, décembre 02, 2008

Foxhole populist

If I have a political vice, it ain't populism.

But I have to say these few paragraphs from today's NYT infuriated me.

OK, I know that markets are complex, and that there is no one cause for a phenomenon. But you have to admit that global markets have shown a certain lemming pattern over the past months. And yes, not every financial institution at the top was guilty of bundling bad mortgages, crafting shoddy derivatives, and all the other garbage that Merrill Lynch, Freddie Mac and others participated in.

But a hell of a lot of our biggest financial institutions apparently did. And for them to refuse to work out a way to individualize lending so that consumers with good credit and stable jobs (still the majority in this country) get loans is lazy, shiftless, and stupid. It was easy enough for them to play roulette with our money. Why is it so tough to work out a way to get the economy they helped trash rolling again?

"The yield on 30-year Treasuries declined 0.23 percentage points, to 3.21 percent, and briefly touched a record low of 3.18 percent. The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell 0.19 percentage points, to 2.73 percent.
In normal times, those kinds of yields would automatically mean lower interest rates on mortgages, automobile loans and other forms of consumer debt. But the credit markets have been stalled by continued fears among financial institutions about who can be trusted for even short-term transactions, so the effects on home loans and other purposes could remain modest."

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